Adaptations of Sherlock Holmes
- For other uses, see Sherlock Holmes (disambiguation)
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The stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were very popular as adaptations for the stage, and later film, and still later television. The Universal Sherlock Holmes (1995) by Ronald B. DeWaal lists over 25,000 Holmes-related productions and products.
- Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective (1981) (Sleuth Publications) (book-based game)
- 221B Baker Street (Gibsons Games)
A short-lived half-page Sherlock Holmes comic strip appeared daily and Sunday in the 1950s, written by radio scriptwriter Edith Meiser and drawn by Frank Giacoia.
There have been a number of Sherlock Holmes comic books, notably from Dell and DC. The 50th anniversary issue of Detective Comics features a cameo from a 135-year old Holmes, who congratulates Batman for defeating Professor Moriarty's descendants. He explains "A proper diet, a certain distillation of royal jelly developed in my beekeeping days, and the rarified atmosphere of Tibet, where I keep my primary residence," have kept him alive. When Batman tries to light his pipe, Holmes states "Thank you, but I'm afraid the pipe is purely for show these days."
Holmes was also featured prominently in issue 13 of the DC/WildStorm series Planetary. Holmes is shown to be in league with Bram Stoker's Dracula in the story. A Charlton Comics series depicted a Holmes based in New York City.
SelfMadeHero published "Hound of the Baskervilles", adapted by Ian Edginton and illustrated by Ian Culbard, in May 2009.
Holmes is referred to and briefly featured in Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Holmes appears in a flashback sequence depicting the climactic scene of The Adventure of the Final Problem and is still believed by the public to be deceased following the events of that story, although it is revealed in the second volume that Mina later meets with him.
In the Italian comic book Martin Mystère and spin-off series Storie di Altrove/Stories from Elsewhere Holmes is a historical character. In late 1880s he worked on the case of Jack the Ripper and met professor Richard Van Helsing, a vampire who destroyed Count Dracula. Along with Professor Challenger, Holmes visited a secret valley of dinosaurs in South America in 1896. The same year he worked with the American Secret Service "Elsewhere" to stop paranormal threats from another dimension. In 1910 he discovered a life extension serum. At the beginning of World War I he had a final confrontation with Professor Moriarty. After the war, he moved to Ukraine, giving Arthur Conan Doyle the task to convince everyone that he was just an imaginary character. With the help of his serum, Holmes prolonged his life for several decades. In 1990s he indirectly helped Martin Mystère to capture a villain who found a formula of his serum.
In the 1990s, Caliber Comics issued a four-part Sherlock Holmes Reader which featured quotes from Holmes, a map of 221-B Baker Street, and canon story adaptations as well as individual stories such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes and The Sussex Vampire.
In 2013, New Paradigm Studios began publishing a monthly, ongoing series entitled Watson and Holmes. The series re-imagines Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as living in the 21st Century and living in Harlem.
The latest arc of the famous webcomic Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff shows the main characters in the roles of Holmes and Watson and details their detective-hat-wearing, pipe-clinking adventures.
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It has been estimated that Sherlock Holmes is the most prolific screen character in the history of cinema. The first known film featuring Holmes is Sherlock Holmes Baffled, a one-reel film running less than a minute, made by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company in 1900. This was followed by a 1905 Vitagraph film Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; or, Held for Ransom, featuring Maurice Costello as Holmes.
Many similar films were made in the early years of the twentieth century, most notably the 13 one- and two-reel films produced by the Danish Nordisk Film Company between 1908 and 1911. The only non-lost film is Sherlock Holmes i Bondefangerkløer, produced in 1910. Holmes was originally played by Viggo Larsen. Other actors who played Holmes in those films were Otto Lagoni, Einar Zangenberg, Lauritz Olsen and Alwin Neuss. In 1911 the American Biograph company produced a series of 11 short comedies based on the Holmes character with Mack Sennett (later of Keystone Kops fame) in the title role.
The next significant cycle of Holmes films were produced by the Stoll Films company in Britain. Between 1921 and 1923 they produced a total of 47 two-reelers, all featuring noted West End actor Eille Norwood in the lead with Hubert Willis as Watson. A later British series produced between 1933 and 1936 starred Arthur Wontner as Holmes.
John Barrymore played the role in a 1922 movie entitled Sherlock Holmes, with Roland Young as Watson and William Powell in his first screen appearance. This Goldwyn film is the first Holmes movie made with high production values and a major star.
Many other films have been comedies and parodies which poke fun at Holmes, Watson, their relationship and other characters. These have included Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes with Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely as Holmes and Watson.
More serious, non-canonical films were A Study in Terror (with John Neville and Donald Houston) and Murder by Decree (with Christopher Plummer and James Mason) both of which involved Holmes and Watson investigating the murders by the Whitechapel serial killer Jack the Ripper. And Young Sherlock Holmes with Nicholas Rowe as Holmes and Alan Cox as Watson playing the duo as schoolboys (in this film one of Holmes' early mentors becomes an enemy who, in the final credits, hides out in the Swiss Alps and signs his name as Moriarty).
The 1988 film Without a Clue was a comedic twist on the familiar Holmes legend. Dr. John Watson (Ben Kingsley) is a genius crime fighter and successful author. Fans of his novels clamor to see the real Sherlock Holmes and Watson realizes that his audience simply would not accept the fact that Holmes was a fabrication and to reveal himself as the creator and brains behind him would be tantamount to literary suicide. To solve his dilemmas, Watson hires Reginald Kincaid (Michael Caine), an alcoholic, womanizing, ne'er-do-well actor to impersonate Holmes.
In 2010, low-budget film company The Asylum produced Sherlock Holmes, which is intended to capitalize on Guy Ritchie's film. It stars new actor Ben Syder as Holmes and Torchwood actor Gareth David Lloyd as Watson. It was shot in Wales and directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg.
A short, 30-minute film titled Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Five Acts was produced by Thomas Lynskey starring Lynskey as Holmes, Robert Bagdon as Dr. Watson, and Jacob Swing as Jack the Ripper. The film attempted to be true to the original themes of the books, as well as details regarding the Ripper case, while avoiding coming to an already possible conclusion to the real life case. Some evidence and characters in the Ripper case was made up for the film to give it a more original ending.
In January 2004, the BBC posted five new Sherlock Holmes short stories on their "Cult" website, along with RealAudio files of the stories, as read by Andrew Sachs and Hannah Gordon. The audio productions were done in association with BBC 7, but are no longer available. The texts of all five short stories are still posted, with accompanying illustrations and illustration galleries, as well as an edited transcript of an interview with Bert Coules. The short story texts can also be downloaded as eBooks in three different formats.
One famous radio appearance starred Orson Welles as Sherlock Holmes in an adaptation of one of William Gillette's plays. This was broadcast in September 1938 as part of the "Mercury Theater on the Air" series on CBS Radio.
Throughout the early 1940s on American Radio, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce performed as Holmes and Watson, respectively, in several series of canonical and original Sherlock Holmes stories on the The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes radio show. These broadcasts were loosely based on Doyle's cases. When Rathbone finally departed the role before the 1947 season, Tom Conway played Sherlock Holmes opposite Nigel Bruce for one season. After a change of networks, there were two more pairings: John Stanley as Holmes and Alfred Shirley as Watson in 1947-1948 and John Stanley and Ian Martin in 1948-1949. Both Stanley and Conway emulated Rathbone when performing Holmes to aid in continuity for the audience.
John Gielgud played Holmes for BBC radio in the 1950s, with Ralph Richardson as Watson. Gielgud's brother, Val Gielgud, appeared in "The Bruce-Partington Plans", perhaps inevitably, as Mycroft Holmes. As this series was co-produced by the American Broadcasting Company, known American actors also appeared, such as Orson Welles as Professor Moriarty in "The Adventure of the Final Problem".
Carleton Hobbs portrayed Holmes in a series of BBC radio broadcasts that ran from 1952 to 1969, with Norman Shelley playing Watson. Many of these were broadcast on Children's Hour. Of the many actors who have portrayed Holmes and Watson for the BBC, the Hobbs and Shelley duo is the longest running.
There have been many other radio adaptations (over 750 in English), including a more recent BBC Radio 4 run featuring Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams as Watson. Together, the two actors completed radio adaptations of every story in the canon between 1989 and 1998. The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a new series consisting of original stories written exclusively by Bert Coules was then commissioned, but following Williams' death from cancer in 2001, he was replaced by Andrew Sachs. The episodes of The Further Adventures were based on throwaway references in Doyle's short stories and novels. The complete canonical run is available on CD and audio tape. The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is also available on CD as four box sets each containing four episodes.
BBC Radio 2 also broadcast in 1999 a more ribald six-episode spoof series featuring Holmes and Watson entitled The Newly Discovered Casebook of Sherlock Holmes starring Roy Hudd as Holmes ("England's greatest detective, master of disguise and toffee-nosed ponce"), Chris Emmett as Watson ("contributor to the British Medical Journal, Which Stethescope Magazine and inventor of the self-raising thermometer") and June Whitfield as Mrs. Hudson. Titles in this series included "The Case of the Clockwork Fiend", "The Mystery of the Obese Escapologist", "The Caes of the Deranged Botanist", "Sherlock Holmes and the Glorious Doppelganger", "Holmes Strikes a Happy Medium" and "The Demon Cobbler of Greek Street", and usually turned out to have Holmes' mortal enemy Moriarty (Geoffrey Whitehead) behind each mystery. This series has since been re-broadcast on BBC Radio 7.
Starting in 1998, U.S. radio producer Jim French was given permission from the Conan Doyle estate to produce new, original Sherlock Holmes stories for radio in North America. These are presented within the Imagination Theater program on radio stations and XM satellite radio. The new stories are also broadcast under the banner The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. John Gilbert played Holmes until 2000, and subsequently by John Patrick Lowrie. Watson is played in all shows by Lawrence Albert. Scripts are by Jim French, M. J. Elliott, Matthew Booth, John Hall, Gareth Tilley, J R Campbell and Lawrence Albert. In 2005, with adaptations written by M. J. Elliott, French and his company began a new series based on Conan Doyle's original tales called "The Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes." Many episodes are available on CD as well as downloadable from the Imagination Theater website.
The actor most associated with Holmes on stage was William Gillette, who wrote, directed, and starred in a popular play entitled Sherlock Holmes in seven different productions on Broadway from 1899 (filmed in 1916), while the stories were still being published, to 1930. His version of Holmes, dressed in deerstalker hat and Inverness cape and smoking a large curved calabash pipe, contributed much to the popular image of the character. The deerstalker hat appears occasionally in Paget's original illustrations for The Strand, but it is by no means a part of Holmes' regular clothing. Doyle's text is even vaguer, referring only to a travelling cap with earflaps in the passages with the relevant illustrations. He is also described as smoking several different types of pipes, varying them with his mood.
Sherlock Holmes works undercover as a missionary named Willie Cook in an unfinished play by L. Frank Baum and Emerson Hough called The King of Gee-Whiz. At the behest of an oracle, Cook is boiled into soap with a Marie Corelli novel, but somehow escapes and reveals himself as Holmes at the end of the play, in which he is married to an Incan widow, who mourns the apparent death of Cook, and whose children recognize Holmes as their father. The 1905 scenario for the play was first published in The Musical Fantasies of L. Frank Baum, edited and with an introduction by Alla T. Ford, in 1958.
The calabash pipe is associated with Sherlock Holmes because early portrayers, particularly William Gillette and Basil Rathbone, made an artistic decision to use something large and easily recognized as a pipe. A calabash pipe has a large air chamber beneath the bowl that provides a cooling and mellowing effect. Holmes preferred harsh and strong tobaccos and therefore would eschew such a pipe. In fact, most stories, particularly The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, described him as preferring a long-stemmed cherry-wood or a clay pipe.
In the first twenty years of the 20th century, Harry Arthur Saintsbury played Holmes on stage in Gillette’s play more than 1,400 times. In subsequent revivals of this production, Holmes was played by John Wood, John Neville, Patrick Horgan, Robert Stephens and Leonard Nimoy. Frank Langella played Holmes in a 1981 production for HBO.
The Secret of Sherlock Holmes by Jeremy Paul was staged in London's West End in 1988, with Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke reprising their television roles as Holmes and Watson. It was revived in the summer of 2010 at the Duchess Theatre, this time starring television actors Peter Egan as Holmes and Robert Daws as Watson.
There have been many television incarnations of Sherlock Holmes, varying in faithfulness to the source material from direct adaptions of Holmes stories, most notably The Hound of the Baskervilles, to new stories set in the present day and even the future.
Three years later, the first American adaptation of Holmes and Watson, Sherlock Holmes was produced by Sheldon Reynolds in 1954, and starred Ronald Howard as Holmes and Howard Marion-Crawford as Doctor Watson produced in Paris, France.
In the 1960s, there was a BBC TV series entitled Sherlock Holmes with Douglas Wilmer and Nigel Stock. Peter Cushing, who had earlier played the detective in the Hammer version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, later took over from Wilmer in the lead role.
Jeremy Brett starred as Holmes in a Granada Television adaptation screened from 1984 to 1994, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, with David Burke and subsequently Edward Hardwicke as Watson. All but 18 of the Conan Doyle stories were filmed before the death of Jeremy Brett from a heart attack in 1995. Between 1984 and 1994, 36 episodes and five films were produced over six series. Brett and Hardwicke reprised their roles as Holmes and Watson in 1988-89 in a West End stage play, The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, written by Jeremy Paul.
In 1988, the animated series Alvin and the Chipmunks aired an episode entitled "Elementary, My Dear Simon", which stars Simon as Holmes, Theodore as Watson, Alvin as Professor Moriarty, and Dave as Inspector Seville.
An animated series, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, brings Holmes into the future through the marvels of science. There is also a Japanese animated series called Sherlock Hound featuring anthropomorphic canine characters. Several of its episodes were directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Another Japanese anime series called Case Closed, based on the manga of the same name, features a main character by the name of Conan who is heavily influenced by Sherlock Holmes.
The children's television series The Adventures of Shirley Holmes, which ran from 1996 to 1999, features a main young, modern-day female character who claims to be a distant descendant of Sherlock Holmes himself and has inherited his intellect in solving crimes.
In 2009, the BBC began making Sherlock, a contemporary remake of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Two seasons of three 90-minute episodes each were broadcast in 2010 and 2012, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor Watson. A third series has been commissioned and is anticipated to be broadcast in 2014.
John Cleese starred as Holmes' grandson - Arthur Sherlock Holmes - in the comic TV special The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977). Arthur Lowe played Dr. William Watson, the original doctor's grandson.
Between 1979 and 1986, Soviet television produced a series of nine television films at the Lenfilm movie studio, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The series were split into eleven episodes and starred Vasily Livanov as Holmes and Vitaly Solomin as Watson. Livanov earned honorary membership Order of the British Empire for a performance ambassador Anthony Brenton described as "one of the best I've ever seen".
In 1983, Ian Richardson portrayed Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of Four with David Healy as Dr. John H. Watson. Later that same year, Richardson again played Holmes in a version of The Hound of the Baskervilles with Donald Churchill as his Watson.
The contemporarily-set 1987 television movie The Return of Sherlock Holmes starred Michael Pennington as the detective and Margaret Colin as Dr. Watson's granddaughter, Jane. Jane, after following directions written by her grandfather years ago, finds out that she has thawed Holmes who had been cryogenically frozen by Dr. Watson for 88 years due to Bubonic plague. They become a team—the essential Victorian gentleman and a post-feminist young woman—to solve a case that combines elements of "The Sign of the Four" with elements from the celebrated news story of a plane hijacked for ransom by D.B. Cooper.
The 1991-92 series Sherlock Holmes the Golden Years consisted of two TV films, in which Sherlock Holmes (played by Christopher Lee and Dr. Watson (played by Patrick Macnee) are older adults who continue investigating cases. The two films were Incident at Victoria Falls and Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady.
In 2000 the telemovie Murder Rooms featured Ian Richardson as Dr. Joseph Bell, who solved (fictional) crimes with the aid of his young pupil Arthur Conan Doyle. Four more telemovies followed in 2001. The series was subtitled "The Dark Origins of Sherlock Holmes" for US syndication.
From 2000 to 2002, Muse Entertainment Enterprises produced four television films for the Hallmark Channel, starring Matt Frewer as Holmes and Kenneth Welsh as Dr Watson, in The Hound of the Baskervilles (2000), The Royal Scandal (2001), The Sign of Four (2001) and The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire (2002).
2002 saw a new version of The Hound of the Baskervilles featuring Richard Roxburgh. Ian Hart played Dr. Watson then and also in the 2004 BBC airing of Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking, alternatively billed as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. An original screenplay "based on the character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle", this film takes place in 1902, with Dr. Watson "saving a dear friend from narcotics and boredom", this friend being an opium-addicted and increasingly weak Sherlock Holmes. Rupert Everett plays the Great Detective.
2002 also saw the made for television cable movie, Case of Evil, about a 20-something Sherlock Holmes (James D'Arcy) and a Doctor Watson who worked as an early practitioner of autopsies, on the trail of Holmes' archenemy, Professor Moriarty (Vincent D'Onofrio).
The android Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) from Star Trek: The Next Generation had a personal interest of visiting the holodeck and playing Sherlock Holmes with his friend Geordi LaForge (LeVar Burton) as Dr John H. Watson, as can be seen in two episodes of the series. On these occasions, Commander Data would replay and try to solve some of his favourite Holmes stories, or let the computer improvise a new mystery in the style of Doyle's stories. On most of these occasions, these exercises would result in a quick solution, since his android brain would immediately pick up all available clues, and his superior deductive skills would quickly solve the problem. Attempting to let the computer create a more difficult mystery for him however, resulted in the computer creating a holographic Professor James Moriarty which was imbued with a measure of consciousness, and who formed the basis for a story arc for said two episodes. The holographic Moriarty quickly caused problems when he realised he was a holodeck creation, and demanded a 'full' life, with the possibility to leave the holodeck.
On 20 March 2009, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson appeared in the episode, "Trials of the Demon!" of Batman: The Brave and the Bold where Sherlock Holmes finished the magic spell to bring Batman to his time after the mob put Jason Blood a.k.a. Etrigan on the blame of "missing souls" of the women. After the rescue of Jason Blood, Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Batman and Etrigan hunt for Gentleman Ghost who was responsibility for missing souls. At first, Dr. Watson suggests that maybe James Moriarty is responsible. Sherlock was voiced by Ian Buchanan and Watson was voiced by Jim Piddock.
Sherlock Holmes and his world are also used in video game universe as computer games and video games. Most successful of these games is the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes video game series by Frogwares. The series has garnered awards and consists of six main games.
- Sherlock (1984) (Philip Mitchell) (PC text adventure)
- Sherlock Holmes: Hakushaku Reijō Yūkai Jiken (1986) (Nintendo Family Computer)
- 221B Baker Street (1987) (Datasoft) (PC and Mac)
- Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels (1988) (Infocom)
- Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective (1991) (ICOM Simulations)
- Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. II (1992) (ICOM Simulations)
- Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. III (1993) (ICOM Simulations)
- The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel (1992) (Electronic Arts) (PC)
- The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Rose Tattoo (1996) (Electronic Arts) (PC)
- Sherlock Holmes 2: Checkmate (2011) (Sticky Game Studios) (PC and Mac online game)
- Sherlock Holmes: Mystery of the Mummy (2002) (Frogwares) (PC) (DS)
- Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Silver Earring (2004) (Frogwares) (PC)
- Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened (2006) (Frogwares) (PC)
- Sherlock Holmes versus Arsène Lupin (2007) (Frogwares) (PC)
- Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper (2009) (Frogwares) (PC) (X360)
- Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Osbourne House (2010) (Frogwares) (DS)
- The Testament of Sherlock Holmes (2012) (Frogwares) (PS3) (X360) (PC)
- "Martin Mystère: The shadows of Baker Street". en.sergiobonellieditore.it. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "Martin Mystère: The Return of Jack". en.sergiobonellieditore.it. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "Stories from Elsewhere: The creature from the fog". en.sergiobonellieditore.it. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "Stories from Elsewhere: A woman who lived two lives". en.sergiobonellieditore.it. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "Martin Mystère: The impossible world of Sherlock Holmes". en.sergiobonellieditore.it. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- "Sherlock Holmes Comics". Caliber Comics. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "The Sussex Vampire". Comic Vine. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "The Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes". Black House Comics. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Dave Elsey Wins Oscar". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Review: Muppet Sherlock Holmes #1". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- Redmond, Christopher (1993). A Sherlock Holmes Handbook. Toronto: Dundern Press. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-55488-446-9.
- Hardy, Phil (1997). The BFI Companion to Crime. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-304-33215-1.
- Robert W. Pohle, Douglas C. Hart, Sherlock Holmes on the screen: the motion picture adventures of the world's most popular detective (A. S. Barnes, 1977), pp. 54, 56, 57
- From Pages to Stages: Sherlock Holmes on Camera and Microphone
- Biography for Raymond Massey at Turner Classic Movies
- Prepolec, Charles (October 7, 2009). "DVD: The Asylum's Cash-In Sherlock Holmes Movie". Sherlock Holmes News. Archived from the original on 19 January 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
- "Deak: Hound of the Baskervilles, R. Fredrickson, bass -Pt.1". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Jim French Productions
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; William S. Baring-Gould (1979). The Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. p. 28. ISBN 0517502917.
- Frank Rich, "Stage: Langella In 'Sherlock's Last.' ", The New York Times, August 21, 1987.
- "The Secret of Sherlock Holmes Opens at London's Duchess Theatre July 20". Playbill.com. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Jonny Lee Miller & Lucy Liu Explain Their Elementary Take On Sherlock Holmes! News. Yahoo. 2012-05-16. Retrieved on 2012-06-19.
- Thomlison, Adam. "Q & A". TV Media. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
- Peter Haining, The Television Sherlock Holmes, W.H. Allen, London, 1986. ISBN 0-491-03055-X.
- BBC Cult Page for five original Sherlock Holmes short stories, posted in January 2004.
- List of Sherlock Holmes games at MobyGames
- "Brief and Incomplete History of Sherlock Holmes on TV" by the Sherlock Holmes Society of London.
- The Russian TV films
- Open audio collection of various Radio broadcasts (archive.org)